What's Cool In Road Cycling

Readers Respond: UCI VS WADA VS TDF

Nothing like a little pointed commentary to get the ol’ opinion juices flowing – ! This week’s MailBag opens to some thought-provoking responses to Charles Manantan’s latest Comment column on Verbruggen…

While I do agree that Verbruggen is not doing himself (of the UCI) any favours by carrying-on like he is, I think the overall point is still valid.

Notwithstanding the fact that cycling should be doing more to get control of the doping issue, the point that he was making is that cycling is, unfairly perhaps, singled-out by the media and pundits as a ‘dirty’ sport. Anyone who would claim that any of the world’s great professional team sports (North American football, football, hockey, basketball, rugby, you name it) would withstand the scrutiny to which professional road cycling is subject, regarding the doping issue, is hiding his or her head in the sand.

Your comments regarding the limited terms at the UCI would be a very good start to eliminating another problem, which is the fiefdom that has historically developed there.

Keep up the great work, your site is one of the best and most insightful regarding our sport.

Geoffrey A. Mar


I hesitate to wade into the histrionics of the doping controversies but Charles Manantan’s vicious attack on the UCI is a bit over the top, don’t you think?

Certainly UCI has its faults. But something seems odd here. I too was dismayed that WADA and UCI seem to disagree on some things…but what about WADA and TdF?

I heard that TdF refused WADA access to ANY of their dope tests in the 2002 edition of LeTour. Can anyone explain why? With no outside supervision can
anyone not see the possiblities of “sink testing” or positive (or non-negative if you like) tests never seeing the light of day…or public scrutiny?

UCI’s complaint with WADA seems to hinge on authority and penalites. A cyclist can be subject to the current 6 month ban (and possibly to the planned two-year penalty) by their federation for results obtained by WADA testing. But NBA stars can have the same test result and face little or no sanction from their “federation”. Is this correct? If so, it certainly seems unfair.

Pro cycling and ALL other pro sports should be subject to testing by WADA. Test results, if positive (or non- negative) should be made public only after the B sample is confirmed. There should be uniform sanction period for ALL athletes regardless of sport, be it 6 month, 2 years, 4 years or life.

All athletes want consistency in testing procedures and penalties.

It seems the UCI is concerned (and to me, rightly so) about having their sport face consequences different from those of other pro sports. The North American pro sports seem to be the ones with the most lax penalties and testing procedures.

Make the banned substances lists uniform across all pro sports, make the penalties the same, and then insist that WADA be allowed to test anyone in any sport, at any time.

I’d be surprised if the UCI opposed this idea.

Larry Theobald
Sioux City, IA USA


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